Beetroot Troubleshooting - Pale Beetroot
Can you explain why some of my beets are a rich dark colour while others are pale and washed out, when they are all grown from the same seed in the same bed and even cooked in one pot?
Texture also varies I find. Some soft and sweet others a bit tough and not so sweet and it does not seem to relate to size. I am growing the beetroot during winter in India.
The Italian beetroot Chioggia,for example, is grown for alternating red and white rings in the flesh. Unless you are growing the Chioggia variety, the Egyptian or the Red-White beetroot varieties you should not have any white zones in your beetroots or pale flesh as this is a clear sign of water stress and poor soil.
You don't say how large an area you are planting but if it is a large area it is quite possible that some areas within the beetroot patch are not being watered evenly and consistently.
Your beetroots should be grown in soil that is kept constantly moist and where the soil is not allowed to dry out between watering. If you allow the soil to dry out and have hot weather that follows, then you will have beetroots that have white rings that develop in the flesh, have pale beets and the beets themselves will have a very strong flavor.
Make sure that you prepare the beds well before planting. Check the pH for all areas to make sure that there are no variations in soil quality (6.5-7.5 is the acceptable pH for growing beetroot). If your soil is too acidic, add lime to the soil.
Beetroot appreciate a good amount of nitrogen, so they may be fed every 2 weeks from the time the plant is about 19 cm high. Because beetroot like a salty soil, you should give them a watering with a weak salt solution on every alternate week. Dilute 1 teaspoon of common household salt in 4.5 liters of water.
Make sure you only sow only fresh seed. Water the beds evenly and consistently and you should have no problems next season.
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